New York, NY, October 15, 2019 — Today, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) announced that five research grants have been awarded under the Society’s largest research initiative, the HDSA Huntington’s Disease Human Biology Project. These grants, totaling $575,000, represent HDSA’s patient-centric research focus which brings basic and clinical researchers together to facilitate Huntington’s disease (HD) science in the human condition – instead of in animal models – with the direct participation of people affected by HD.
“The HDSA HD Human Biology Project was created to enable scientists to better understand Huntington’s disease in people,” said George Yohrling, PhD, Senior Director, Mission and Scientific Affairs at HDSA. “Our 2019 fellows were selected by the Scientific Advisory Board at HDSA because their innovative proposals could change the way HD care is delivered, launch new drug discovery campaigns aimed at halting the expansion of the huntingtin gene, and help us better understand HD at both the cellular and patient level.”
HDSA received applications from researchers all around the world. Ultimately, grants were awarded to five research fellows from Scotland, Spain and the United States.
The winners and titles of the 2019 HDSA HD Human Biology Project Grants are:
Danielle Larson, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine: TeleHD: Feasibility, validity, and value of telemedicine for motor and non-motor assessments in patients with Huntington’s disease
Osama Al Dalahmah, MD, PhD, Columbia University: The Transcriptional Landscape of Huntington Disease; Exploring the Neuroprotective Potential of Astrocytes at The Single Cell Level
Vilija Lomeikaite, PhD candidate, University of Glasgow: Improving methods to accurately quantify somatic mosaicism in clinical samples from HD patients
Ricardo Mouro-Pinto, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School: Development of CAG Contraction-based Therapeutics for Huntington’s Disease
Saul Martinez-Horta, MsC, Sant Pau Hospital, Barcelona: Neurobiological mechanisms sub-serving the differential expression and rate of progression of cognitive impairment in Huntington’s disease
“HDSA continues to inspire and directly facilitate promising human-centric research while cultivating a strong network of talented HD scientists and clinicians,” said Louise Vetter, Chief Executive Officer of HDSA. “Through the Human Biology Project, HDSA has a unique platform to bring support to the science and scientists that will change the future of HD care.”
Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes Huntington’s disease. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease are described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously.
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by HD. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with HD and their families.
To learn more about Huntington’s disease and the work of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, visit www.hdsa.org or call 1-800-345-HDSA.